Ruzafa, Mueller win XTERRA Switzerland

Jun. 29, 2014

(Vallee de Joux, Switzerland) –Ruben Ruzafa and Kathrin Mueller captured the XTERRA Switzerland Championship in Vallee de Joux on Saturday afternoon. It’s the third win in as many tries on the 2014 XTERRA European Tour for the reigning and two-time World Champion Ruzafa, and the second big win in two weeks for Mueller.

XTERRA managing director Dave Nicholas was on-site and brings us this report…

The rain did start about 9pm but it made no difference at that hour.  The race was over, awards were finished and a few after-parties had started.

A glorious day in the Vaud area known as Valle de Joux and some hard, hard racing.  The victors ended up, not surprisingly, as Ruben Ruzafa and Kathrin Mueller.  But what happened from the start to the finish made one heck of a day.

In typical Swiss fashion, the starting gun went off precisely at 2pm.  Gregg Shrosbee (GBR) and Braden Currie (NZ) were ahead coming out of transition with Asa Shaw not far behind.  Asa could not get his bike shoe on and lost precious seconds but headed out in a hurry.

For the women, Kathrin Mueller had the 5th fastest swim of all and took an almost 3 minute lead on the rest of the field.  A lead she would never relinquish.

The first few K are flat and fast and Braden and Gregg still had the lead when they arrived at a fun, fast downhill section we'll name Figure 8.  Asa Shaw was only a few ticks behind and then came Ruben Ruzafa and Alexander Haas.  It is really great to see Alex Haas back racing.  A world champion age grouper, Alex turned pro in 2012 and seemed destined to be on the top step quickly.  In 2013 he caught some evil virus or bug and got quite sick.  There was a time when he didn't know if he would ever recover well enough to race again, but thankfully Alexander is back and now we have another podium contender in the mens group.

The course is laid out so when the fun part of the course starts (Figure 8), it comes back on itself and one can go from the fast downhill to the top of a steep climb along the lake with numerous switchbacks easily.  This part is located deep in the Swiss forest.  The whole section takes mortals a half an hour - but for Braden, Asa and Ruben it takes about 12 minutes.  The same as they went in is how they came up out of the woods. From there it was cut and thrust all the way back and around onto the second lap.

"There was a lot of wind and the trails are so fast nobody wanted to break away" said Ruzafa, who truly gave it all today.

The second time they came down the hill they were going so fast I couldn't sight through the camera - just jumped out of the way pointed in what I hoped was the right direction and hit burst.  Kris Coddens had just passed Alex Haas for 4th and looked fresh.  At T2 Coddens had nearly caught the three leaders by having the fastest bike split and the tall Belgian can run.

Braden beat the others onto the run with a blistering T2 time and had a nice lead coming through the green fields and along the railroad tracks.  Asa and Ruben were neck and neck until the Spaniard turned up the wick and went after the Kiwi.

For the women Kathrin had things well in hand and increased her lead on the bike.  The great effort of the day was by Canadian Chantell Widney.  Chantell showed up with a metal nose plate covering a recently broken proboscis.  She pre-rode the course with Ruben during the week and by race day the cover was gone and she was clearly ready to race.  From the beginning she had a solid hold on 3rd place with only Swiss champion Renata Bucher able to get ahead in 2nd.  Widney had the legs this day and ran down Renata for a magnificent 2d place.  Farther back, but not very far, Maud Golsteyn was putting in a great performance and was part of the group that came into transition in 5th.

Meanwhile, two-time XTERRA European Tour Champion Helena Erbenova was having a very off day and while coming up quickly on the bike was clearly suffering and could get no higher than 4th.  Maud ran with Helena for a bit, was able to get past and took off after Renata.  Our Swiss Miss was tiring and Maud caught her on the last lap to take 3rd.  Carina Wasle also passed Erbenova and could see the girls in front "I think we need a 3rd lap to the run" she smiled as she did nearly catch the others. What a great race for the women with 2d to 5th all within one minute.  The closeness of the others shows how dominant Mueller was as she finished nearly five minutes ahead of second.

The top men were running hard.  Nothing was for sure in the men’s race.  Ruben and Braden ran together for a long time until finally the World Champ put the go pedal down to win by 38 seconds.  Coddens had caught Asa and while Shaw tried to stay with him he could not.  "He was so fast on the flats" said Asa "I could stay with him uphill but then-poof- he was gone".  Belgian Yeray Luxem caught Alex Haas to finish 5th with the resurgent German in a very competitive 6th.

There was equal thrust and parry for the age groupers as well.  That is what a fast, partly technical, party power course does.  The organizers truly raised their game for this year and got applause from all quarters.  The Swiss race now begins to rank up there with the very best and with the area being so naturally beautiful it needs to be on your bucket list.

Pos. Name Time Swim Bike Run
1 Ruben Ruzafa, ESP 02:05:32.155 21:00.482 (10) 1:07:05.932 (2) 35:45.294 (2)
2 Braden Currie, NZL 02:06:10.512 19:45.369 (2) 1:08:24.986 (4) 36:32.694 (4)
3 Kris Coddens, BEL 02:07:26.132 21:33.858 (13) 1:06:38.137 (1) 37:29.980 (7)
4 Asa Shaw, GBR 02:07:45.798 20:01.725 (4) 1:08:19.490 (3) 38:06.405 (8)
5 Yeray Luxem, BEL 02:08:14.974 20:59.597 (9) 1:08:43.074 (5) 37:15.702 (5)
6 Alexander Haas, GER 02:13:03.640 20:53.842 (8) 1:08:55.976 (6) 41:49.232 (19)
7 Jan Pyott, SUI 02:14:43.164 20:51.307 (7) 1:12:18.774 (9) 40:19.977 (10)
8 Rob Woestenborghs, BEL 02:15:42.138 24:39.351 (62) 1:11:17.038 (8) 37:16.653 (6)
9 Albert Soley, ESP 02:17:55.594 21:31.594 (12) 1:12:32.980 (10) 42:30.804 (24)
10 Tim Van Daele, BEL 02:18:59.614 22:03.838 (17) 1:14:33.469 (13) 40:58.670 (12)
Also: Damien Guillemet, Joost Christiaans, Will Kelsay, Gregg Shrosbree, Jon Heasman
Pos. Name Time Swim Bike Run
1 Kathrin Mueller, GER 02:24:45.702 20:06.005 (5) 1:20:01.356 (29) 43:16.325 (31)
2 Chantell Widney, CAN 02:29:32.136 22:52.930 (26) 1:21:57.534 (44) 42:59.072 (30)
3 Maud Golsteyn, NED 02:30:06.999 24:10.109 (46) 1:21:05.637 (36) 43:18.678 (32)
4 Renata Bucher, SUI 02:30:23.066 23:04.711 (32) 1:20:21.812 (33) 45:17.944 (47)
5 Carina Wasle, AUT 02:30:52.925 23:09.334 (36) 1:23:10.444 (51) 42:35.976 (25)
6 Helena Erbenova, CZE 02:31:54.773 23:08.055 (35) 1:21:49.621 (42) 45:05.309 (45)
7 Sandra Koblmueller, AUT 02:33:35.785 24:27.005 (57) 1:26:14.972 (64) 40:53.036 (11)
8 Rebecca Kaltenmeier, GER 02:35:10.408 24:38.884 (61) 1:22:59.736 (49) 45:45.607 (52)


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XTERRA Switzerland was the 19th of 36 events where the fastest amateur athletes from around the globe could qualify to race at the 19th annual XTERRA World Championship at Kapalua, Maui on October 26, 2014.

Date Race Location / Pro Winners
23-Feb XTERRA South Africa Dan Hugo / Flora Duffy
8-Mar XTERRA Motatapu Braden Currie / Nicky Samuels
15-Mar XTERRA Philippines Championship Dan Hugo / Renata Bucher
29-Mar XTERRA Guam Championship Dan Hugo / Renata Bucher
29-Mar XTERRA Costa Rica Leonardo Chacon / Shonny Vanlandingham
30-Mar XTERRA Great Ocean Road
Ben Allen / Jacqui Slack
5-Apr XTERRA Saipan Championship Ben Allen / Carina Wasle
12-Apr XTERRA New Zealand Championship Conrad Stoltz / Barbara Riveros
13-Apr XTERRA West Championship Josiah Middaugh / Flora Duffy
26-Apr XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship Dan Hugo / Flora Duffy
3-May XTERRA Malaysia Dan Hugo / Jacqui Slack
17-May XTERRA Southeast Championship Josiah Middaugh / Flora Duffy
24-May XTERRA Mauritius Sam Gardner / Karyn Southgate
24-May XTERRA Spain Championship Ruben Ruzafa / Helena Erbenova
1-Jun XTERRA Portugal Ruben Ruzafa / Coralie Redelsperger
8-Jun XTERRA Brazil Championship Felipe Moletta / Sabrina Gobbo
15-Jun XTERRA East Championship Dan Hugo / Flora Duffy
21-Jun XTERRA Greece Francois Carloni / Kathrin Mueller
28-Jun XTERRA Switzerland Championship Ruben Ruzafa / Kathrin Mueller
29-Jun XTERRA Norway Horten
5-Jul XTERRA Ontario Milton, Ontario, Canada
6-Jul XTERRA France Championship Xonrupt, Gerardmer
6-Jul XTERRA Victoria British Columbia, Canada
6-Jul XTERRA Freedom Fest Kualoa Ranch, Oahu, Hawaii
13-Jul XTERRA Sweden Hellasgaarten
19-Jul XTERRA Mountain Championship Beaver Creek Resort, Avon, Colorado
26-Jul XTERRA Italy Championship Abruzzo, Scanno
2-Aug XTERRA Mexico Championship Tapalpa, Jalisco
9-Aug XTERRA Czech Championship Prachatice
16-Aug XTERRA Germany Championship Zittau
17-Aug XTERRA Canmore Alberta, Canada
24-Aug XTERRA England Cranleigh, Surrey
31-Aug XTERRA Denmark Tisvilde
31-Aug XTERRA Quebec Lac Delage, Quebec, Canada
7-Sep XTERRA Sleeping Giant Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
20-Sep XTERRA USA Championship Ogden/Snowbasin, UT
26-Oct XTERRA World Championship Maui, Hawaii

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